Sir Gawain And The Green Knight Essay

2251 Words Oct 6th, 2016 10 Pages
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight defies many conventions of traditional heroic tales. Interactions between Gawain and his protagonist the Green Knight differ substantially from the typical interactions of protagonists and antagonists in heroic tales, and the Green Knight is not simplistically evil like most antagonists in heroic tales. There is less physical conflict than in most heroic tales, and more social conflict, tests which challenge Gawain’s loyalty to his chivalric moral code. These deviations from the norms of the heroic tale are effective in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, and it is an enduring tale because it had the courage to defy these conventions.
A traditional heroic tale usually involves the protagonist and antagonist trying to beat each other, and in this sense Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is a traditional heroic tale. A heroic tale usually ends with the protagonist fighting the antagonist and winning, usually by defeating the antagonist in direct combat and often killing the antagonist. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight departs from this standard structure; at the end of the story the Green Knight is revealed to be a friend of Gawain. While Gawain and the Green Knight agree to trade blows, this is not conflict in the traditional sense with two men squaring off against each other, attacking and blocking repeatedly until one is victorious. Medieval knights were not in the habit of squaring off like colonial duelers and exchanging blows, unless the weapons…

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